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Its that time of year when photographers get giddy with excitement as the colours on the trees start to turn from de-saturated green to hues of yellow, gold and brown. Autumn. With a couple of photographer friends; Dav Thomas, Paul Mitchell, Roger Longdin and briefly John Irvine, we arranged to meet in the Lake District and base ourselves in Great Langdale. The previous year we had based ourselves at Glenridding on Ullswater, but being as to get anywhere elses was a good 30 mins drive away Great Langdale seemed like a good spot to stay this year with two hotels and a campsite within 10mins walk.
We weren’t blessed with great weather. I drove up on Tuesday to “do” Eskdale, Wasswater and Grey Croft Stone Circle for my Ties to the Land Project on the Wednesday. The best day was probably the Thursday and we were rewarded with some excellent colours at Blea Tarn that day (as well as the sight of at least 10 other photographers shooting up the Blea Tarn towards the Langdale Pikes). The rest of the time during our trip in the Lake District the weather was bad to atrocious – but it was a good lesson in making the most of the conditions. Not only that, but it was a good exercise in getting familiar with a location. We spent three days exploring at our own pace Hodge Close Quarry, a VERY large quarry that may be in a mothballed state just over the back from Yew Tree Tarn on the road to Coniston. With over 200 years of continuous working, the land is in various states of regeneration and the opportunities are endless for the creative photographer.
Here is a small selection from the trip to the Lake District, your comments as always are very welcome. Clicking on a photograph opens the gallery view.
I have to say that I feel that my confidence in using my pinhole cameras, yes I have two now (Zero Image 2000 and 612B). That confidence comes, as ever, through regular use and practice. There has been so much this year that I have had to relearn – the key one of getting close to the subject and then a bit closer again for good measure. Also I have got my hand back in to processing my own black and white films again. Using Prescysol EF makes Black and White film processing a lot easier for me – regardless of the film type it can all be lobed in to together, which does save having to wait until I have 3 films of the one type before I start processing. I even use it to good effect with my Infra Red films.
This summer I seem to have spawned another project “Ties to the Land” – not quite sure if its a sub set or the parent of my ever on going Derbyshire Megaliths project. Essentially, it aims to show mans’ relationship to the land – but in many ways thats what stone circles are all about – open air places of reverence and the marking of time. At the same time – having gone with the working of title of “Megalithic Light” for my stone circle project for the past two years, I’ve settled (for the moment at least) on “Stoneworks”, until a better idea comes along.
Crucially this summer I managed to do some pinhole photography using infra red film. I’ve written about using infra film and pinhole cameras elsewhere on this site. I think, when it works, infra red pinhole photography lends itself well to making photographs of objects that have stood for thousands of millennia. Gib Hill, next to Arbor Low in the Peak District is over seven thousand years old, so its perhaps appropriate that when I make my photographs that my exposures are taking 5 – 12 minutes.
Below are just some of the pinhole images that I’ve taken this summer – I still have another 4 rolls of infra red film to process. No doubt I will be sharing them here another time.
I’ve had a brief flurry of activity on ebay in an effort to sell my old Bronica ETRS gear and some of my Bronica SQa gear that I do not need. Its not that I don’t like having cameras around, its just that I’m not using them now having got a Bronica SQa and have moved on (its not them, its me). So in the effort to boost my views on ebay in the hope that I can convert some watchers of my items in to cash, here’s some links to my items.
All have been well cared for and are in good if not excellent condition.
So, what have we got….
- Canon Macro/Close Up Twin Lite MT-24EX Flash - http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261281908701 - much under used and never in anger so in excellent condition
- Zenza BRONICA ZENZANON PE 40mm f4 for ETR ETRS - http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261282690016 - top notch 40mm lens for the Bronica ETRS System – these go on ebay for £380
- Bronica ETRS SLR Film Camera with Zenzanon EII 75mm Lens - http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261281986298 - Bronica ETRS with 75 lens and a couple of extras
- Bronica Rotary Prism for the ETR, ETRS, ETRSi & ETRC cameras - http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261281891389 - view finder that allows you to still look down when the camera is in portrait position.
- ZENZA BRONICA AE-II METERED PRISM FINDER for ETRS, ETRSi, ETRC with manual - http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261284118631 - TTL viewfinder for Bronica ETRS with manual
- TTL Metered Chimney Viewfinder for Bronica SQ Medium Format Camera System - http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261284109832 - TTL chimney viewfind for Bronica SQa
- Bronica Prism Viewfinder for Bronica SQa - http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261284126116 - bog standard viewfinder for Bronica SQa
- ZENZA BRONICA ZENZANON MC 1:5.6 F 250MM F5.6 250mm LENS ETR, ETRC ETRS ETRSi - http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261282664639 - so big you could almost take someone’s eye out with it.
- Zenza Zenzanon 150mm f3.5 MC lens for Bronica ETR/ETRS/ETRSi – exc condition - http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261282710679 - 150mm lens for Bronica ETRS, does as it says on the tin.
Just back from a family holiday (including visits to Ardnamurchan, Mull and Arisaig) away in my most prized photographic equipment possession – my camper van called “Diggy”. Surprisingly we all survived the two weeks unscathed, though I have to admit to difficulty adjusting to sleeping in a full size bed again!
Whilst the trip was not about photography, of course the camera(s) came with us. During the trip I mailed 10 rolls back to Peak Imaging for processing using their handy little pre-paid boxes that they supply, this avoided carrying around exposed films, losing them, to find them again, only to lose them again – stress avoidance . Whilst the trip wasn’t about photography, per se(!), it did give me inspiration for places to visit again.
The PS110mm macro lens that I got with my Bronica SQa kit when I bought it got put through its paces for the first time – its a lovely lens – focuses down to about 60 cm and has roughly a 20cm field of view.
After visiting the Isle of Mull, we took the ferry from Tobermory to Ardnamurchan back on the mainland. Ardnamurchan is the most westerly point on the UK mainland and is a fascinating place to visit. If you look at it on Google Maps, you will see whats left of a giant volcano which makes for some interesting geology, but you will also be able to discern some lovely sandy beaches with turquoise blue water as well.
From our camp site (Ardnamurchan Campsite) , we went fossil hunting and we came across these wonderful colourful stones in amongst a beach made up of mainly cheesegrater like gabbro. As the kids played, I had a chance to play too
I mentioned in my previous Bamburgh Beach post how I was disappointed with my negative film results of Bamburgh Castle from our Bank Holiday sortie up to Bamburgh in Northumberland. Thankfully I was also taking slide film photographs using Fujifilm Velvia 50 and having them sent to a professional lab (instead of using the local camera shop) saved the day for me.
Here are two shots from roughly (within feet) the same spot of Bamburgh Castle, one after dusk and one about seven hours later after dawn. I’m very pleased with the colour rendition in both – no nuclear sunrises or sunsets here! If I had to choose, I would go for the morning photograph of Bamburgh Castle – but only just
We had our first campervan trip this year up to Bamburgh, up in Northumberland. We’d didn’t go for the photography per se, its the kid’s holiday as well, instead we went for the wide open beach and (if we got the right spot) fantastic views of Bamburgh Castle.
That said…the weather was rather good at sunset (and at sunrise the next morning). What I couldn’t get over, was the number of photographers all chasing the same spot, particularly where I was stood for sunrise on the 2nd day. A JCB and a long ribbon of shallow water leading the eye across Bamburgh beach towards the famous Bamburgh castle. There was interlocking tripod legs and once I moved on, two people jumped for the my former spot. I’d love to show you the shot, however, I’m far from happy with the shot, or indeed the processing and handling by my local camera store (but that’s another story).
For me it was quite a disheartening experience, lots of people and despite the space all chasing the same thing down. Then there was the people that just got in the way of everyone else – standing well in front of the line of other photographers and then walking on to silhouette themselves on the sky line against the setting sun. Maybe moor lands and woodlands are my thing, quiet, peaceful and if you do meet someone you can engage and carry on your way. I’m not anti people, just anti-crowds and I feel increasingly I need my peace to reset my balance/recharge my batteries.
Looking at some of the results on Flickr of some of the people there this weekend, you might have been forgiven for thinking that a small thermonuclear device had gone off near Bamburgh beach, but thats their take on what they saw at Bamburgh and how they perceived it. Here’s mine.
Finally spring may be springing, and if that is the case there is going to be an explosion of colour and saturated greeness. But before it does, I took the opportunity to take my latest acquisition out for the first time to Bolehill Quarry on the edge of the Derbyshire Peak District.
Before Christmas I bought a Zeiss Ikon Nettar, and was quickly taken with the square 6 x 6 format of the photographs I made. Since then I’ve had a hankering after a Bronica SQa which is the square 6 x 6 predecessor to the Bronica ETRS which is 6×4.5 (and I have). Then one day I happened to be browsing eBay (as you do) and there it was; a complete kit. Three days later I was the proud owner of a Bronica SQa with the difficult task of explaining to my wife the latest “must” have purchase. Anyway, I survived
I do like Bolehill Quarry in the Derbyshire Peak District, its very handy for me, being 20 mins from my house. It also provides quite a variety of subjects from quarried rock faces, to young birch through to gnarly oaks. Soon Bolehill Quarry will be full of vibrant greens, but I do prefer the more muted tone there at Winter’s end.
For more photographs of the Derbyshire Peak District by me, please have a look here. If you’re interested in finding out more about Bolehill Quarry and the surrounding area, have a look at this article in onlandscape.co.uk.
Clicking on any image opens a full screen slide show (once open, click on the X at the top left to close).